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† . R.I.P Heath Ledger. †
- Me, Myself, and I
- † . R.I.P Heath Andrew Ledger . †
04.04.79 - 22.01.08
2008 - The Dark Knight
2007 - I'm Not There
2006 - Candy
2005 - The Brothers Grimm
2005 - Lords of Dogtown
2005 - Brokeback Mountain
2005 - Casanova
2003 - Ned Kelly
2003 - The Order
2002 - The Four Feathers
2001 - Monster’s Ball
2001 - A Knight’s Tale
2000 - The Patriot
1999 - 10 Things I Hate About You
1999 - Two Hands
1997 - Paws
1992 - Clowning Around
3 Comments 278 weeks
Heath Ledger died of an accidental overdose and not from suicide, according to reports.
Bottles of the generic forms of Xanax and Valium, both anti-anxiety drugs prescribed in his name, were found at his $26,000-a-month, three-bedroom loft apartment, the New York Post reported.
Police also found sleeping pills Donormyl, Zopiclone, and Ambien, the Post reported, quoting a police source who said: "it does not appear to be a suicide".
The 28-year-old actor was found nude, lying face down and unresponsive by his maid, Theresa Solomon, and masseuse Diane Lee at 3.20pm local time (7.20am AEDT) .
Ms Solomon said she had heard the actor snoring at midday.
The maid and therapist called 911 at 3.26pm. Emergency workers were unable to revive the star and he was pronounced dead at 3.35pm.
"We are investigating the possibility of an overdose," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.
"There were pills within the vicinity of the bed."
One of the drugs at the scene, Ambien, is marketed as Stilnox in Australia and hit headlines last year when a national drug hotline fielded calls from users reporting strange side-effects. (Related article: Ledger's sleeping pill 'controversial')
In an interview with the New York Times last November, Ledger said he'd been taking Ambien which, according to the newspaper, "failed to work".
"He took a second one and fell into a stupor, only to wake up an hour later, his mind still racing," the journalist reported. Some reports said Ledger was sick with pneumonia before he died.
Ledger's family have expressed their grief at the "accidental" death of their son as they await an autopsy.
Ledger's father Kim, mother Sally and sister Kate described the late actor as "down-to-earth, generous, kind-hearted [and] life-loving". (Watch the video)
"We, Heath's family, confirm the very tragic, untimely and accidental passing of our dearly loved son, brother and doting father of Matilda" Kim Ledger said, reading from a prepared statement.
"Heath has touched so many people on so many different levels during his life, but few have had the pleasure of truly knowing him."
Tributes poured in for the West Australian, including a remarkable endorsement from one of his oldest co-stars.
Legendary Australian actor Charles "Bud" Tingwell worked with Ledger on Ned Kelly and told A Current Affair Ledger was a "marvellous example" for young actors.
"You're never quite sure when you're an elderly actor who people are going to accept you but he was just marvellous," Tingwell said.
"Somebody told me that Michael Caine said one of his recent roles — I think it was as The Joker in Batman — was one of the greatest performances he's ever seen on screen.
"That's not bad, is it?"
Ledger's body was removed from the building on a stretcher in a black body bag, in front of 200 onlookers and more than 70 photographers and television cameramen.
The New York Times initially reported that the apartment belonged to actress Mary-Kate Olsen. But Olsen's representatives have since denied this.
According to celebrity website TMZ, Ledger's ex-fiancée Michelle Williams — with whom he had a daughter — is "devastated" by the news.
Australian actress Naomi Watts, who dated Ledger between 2002 and 2004, was reported to have collapsed in tears when she learned of his death at the Sundance Film Festival.
Film industry mourns
Producer Emile Sherman, who worked with Ledger on the Australian film Candy, said the actor had a "sensitive, artistic soul".
"I received calls and e-mail and texts from a large number of people and that’s how I found out. The word got around very quickly," Mr Sherman said.
"I was in disbelief. I haven't spoken to Heath for a while, but we were planning on catching up via e-mail soon.
"For someone of his age to die is a huge tragedy, it's a huge tragedy for the Australian Film Industry and the International Film Industry."
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Hollywood legend Jack Nicholson has reacted to the news of Heath Ledger's death by telling reporters in London: "I warned him".
He also issued a warning to people about Ambien — the sleeping pill reportedly found next to Ledger's lifeless body in his New York apartment.
Nicholson said he had taken the drug before and almost drove off a cliff.
He said he never took sleeping tablets and only had it after he was told it was "mild".
"I got a call in the middle of the night … it was an emergency … I almost drove off a cliff 50 yards from my house," Nicholson said at the press conference for his new movie The Bucket List.
Nicholson had earlier said he "warned" Ledger after being told by reporters outside a London restaurant that the 28-year-old Australian actor died of a drug overdose.
Ambien is sold in Australia as Stilnox.
Naomi Watts — Ledger's former girlfriend — broke down in tears when she was told the news at the Sundance Film Festival in the US.
She cancelled all appearances and left the festival.
Russell Crowe said in Los Angeles: "He was a gentle, beautiful man, a fine actor, a loyal friend. I feel deeply for his family."
Sophie Ward, the sister of Australian model Gemma Ward — with whom Ledger was romantically linked — denied the actor had a problem with drugs or alcohol.
"He was clean and wasn't drinking any alcohol or taking drugs," Ms Ward told The West Australian newspaper.
"He smoked cigarettes, but that's about it.
"He was drinking diet Coke when we were together and he said he was very committed to not drinking alcohol.
"I don't believe he took his own life deliberately."
In New York, John Travolta said he would give back all of his awards to have Ledger back.
"Actors need other actors to be inspired by, and he was my actor."
Ang Lee, the director of Brokeback Mountain, said working with Ledger was one of the purest joys in his life.
"He brought to the role of Ennis more than any of us could have imagined — a thirst for life, for love, and for truth and a vulnerability that made everyone who knew him love him," Lee said in an email to the Associated Press.
"His death is heartbreaking."
Ledger's portrayal of a cowboy in the film earned him an Academy Award nomination.
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